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Video: County Lawmakers Defeat Motion
to Move Forward on a New County Office Building

September 10, 2019   08:15 p.m.   By: Nick Altmire
    Lowville, NY- The Lewis County Board of Legislators held a special meeting
    this evening, for the purpose of discussing a prospective new County office

    Legislators were expected to discuss various options and locations for a new
    office building, to replace the aging Department of Social Services building on
    Stowe Street in need of major renovations.

    Shortly after the meeting began, after a brief initial overview of where the process
    was at by District 10 Legislator Jerry King, a motion was quickly made to see if
    legislators were generally in favor of building a new building.

    "I make a motion to build a new building," District 4 Legislator Bryan Moser

    "Do we have a second?" Mr. King asked, "I'll second it."

    "Let's vote," District 7 Legislator Greg Kulzer said.

    Board Chairman and District 8 Legislator Lawrence Dolhof then jumped in to
    open discussion on the motion before a vote was taken.

    Mr. Dolhof said he agreed that something needs to be done, but would like to
    look at exactly what the options are before deciding to build a new building. He
    noted that since the current building design from 2013, the needs and visions of
    the County have changed.

    "Instead of jumping right in and deciding if we build a new building or not, I think it
    makes more sense to form an ad hoc committee with input from the community,
    legislators and department heads," Mr. Dolhof said.

    Mr. Moser said the board had previously discussed an ad hoc committee, but all
    10 legislators wanted to be involved in the process.

    "I think instead of wasting our time...for the next six months, whether we're
    changing the design or going with what we have, let's make a decision that we
    are going to move forward, in one shape or form, that we're going to commit
    ourselves to build a building," Mr. Moser said.

    District 2 Legislator Randy Lachausse said he preferred to go forward with an ad
    hoc committee.

    "I'm going to go on the record saying I'm not in favor of moving forward without
    public input," Mr. LaChausse said.

    Mr. Moser told the board they were elected to make decisions, with each
    receiving community input in their district which is shared with the rest of the
    board. He said he hadn't heard any negative community input on the project.

    "People in my district are not in favor of a new building from the comments I've
    heard," said District 6 Legislator Andrea Moroughan.

    District 3 Legislator Ron Burns agreed, saying he was at a meeting in the town of
    Denmark where people were "staunchly against" a new building.

    District 1 Legislator John Lehman said he was at a meeting in Harrisville, where
    everyone was in favor of the building. Mr. Kulzer said that people in Turin were
    also in favor of the building, while Mr. King said the southern end of the county
    was also in favor.

    Mr. King said that they needed to get facts out to the public on the project,
    adding that "we can build it with windmill money," with no added burden on the
    taxpayer. He said he wouldn't vote to build if it required taxpayer funds.

    After discussion, a vote was taken on the motion "to make a decision whether or
    not we're going to build some type of building for our space needs."

    With a majority of six yes votes needed to move the project forward, the board
    was evenly split on the decision, ultimately defeating the motion.

    The five votes in favor were: District 5 Legislator Richard Chartrand; Legislator
    King; Legislator Kulzer; Legislator Lehman; Legislator Moser.

    The five votes against were: District 9 Legislator Thomas Osborne; Legislator
    Burns; Legislator Dolhof; Legislator LaChausse; Legislator Moroughan

    You can see full video of the discussion here.

Full Video: Lewis County Board of Legislators September 10, 2019 Special Meeting